Discussing the “Third Element” of The Old Republic

This past Friday, we got a treat from Bioware as a new community letter was dispatched. This week focuses on Community – The Third Element.

Principal Lead Systems Designer, Damion Schubert, gives us a taste of what has been on his mind and where the development path is leading in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Keep reading for a complete break-down of the blog entry by Schubert!

To start things off we are given a brief introduction to what an MMO is and the various styles that pertain to them. We start off with MUDS being the first true virtual worlds in the online space. As the article progresses we are given some descriptions of the two types of game philosophies.

World vs. Game

The world philosophy brings us a very realistic viewpoint and mechanic. Here the best term to be used is “Sand Box”, pretty much anything goes and players are urged to explore and create them own content within a living, breathing world. It is made to simulate realism as much as possible.

The game philosophy on the other hand strives to fun and balance more than anything. Story, quests, and mini games are often what is seen in this particular model of design. A very good description for this would be “Theme Park”. Control is everything, yet within this controlled system lay deep mechanics that are expanded upon, such a combat.

What we learn for this letter ultimately is that bringing the two philosophies in a median is the goal that the development team is striving for. They have a arduous, challenging road ahead of them. But I am confident they will succeed.

Lastly, Damion Schubert discusses the importance of community and how it's a very critical aspect of an MMO. Essentially this is the building block, the very foundation of it as without the players and the feedback they provide there isn't much to expand upon. The community itself is what creates cooperation and competition. This is what truly makes a virtual world.

There are a few interesting tidbits we managed to pull out of this article, that being that players will not being able to influence each others character storyline. Only the player themselves will be able to make the ultimate decision which will determine whether you will receive dark side or light side points.

Multiplayer conversations also seem to be encouraged as the impression given is that two people will be able to banter between a dialogue point. In addition to this Bioware is striving to create a system where players will want to group with other players. This should be a create assurance to those who believed the game was going to be very much single player focused.

Crafting, we were given a short introduction to. There is not much yet known about this beyond that the developers are working very hard to make sure that if a player wants to be a dedicated crafter, then that option will be present there.

In short there is a lot of information to be pulled from this latest letter. Damion Schubert gives us an indication that in the future we will be hearing a lot more about these systems they are working towards. The tidbits presented have teased the community for many more future letters to come.

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